In-Store Consumers Are Technologically Backwards, Studies Show, But It's Not All Bad News

If you believe the price barcode scanner is the most impressive technology at your local Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus store, you're not alone. According to a survey conducted by First Insight, in-store consumers are technologically behind in a big way. The exciting advances stores have made in terms of retail experience-streamlining technology go largely unnoticed by the average customer, Women's Wear Daily reports, barcode scanner excluded.

Conducted in June, the survey of 1,085 United States citizens and die-hard shoppers offered a wealth of somewhat ironic information on the country's current understanding of technology. Over 30 of consumers claimed to be baffled by the notion of a virtual dressing room, while 70 percent were ignorant of the meaning of an in-store beacon. Beacons, for those not familiar with the terminology, are utilized by storefronts to aggregate information about browsing consumers as well as pass along information about discounts and deals that may be of interest to the shopper. Finally, the most staggering statistic regarding in-store customer experience pertains to the state-of-the-art price barcode scanner, which 47.9 percent of consumers rated the most important and utilitarian in-shop technology. It seems that consumers who frequent brick and mortar storefronts are approximately a decade behind the times in terms of their technological awareness.

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However, First Insight chief commercial officer Jim Shea believes that the knowledge gap is simply a matter of the impetus behind certain practices. As it so happens, some technology created more for the benefit of the store's public image as opposed to its customers. "The more niche technologies like…virtual dressing rooms, I think, for retailers deploying those, the benefits to them are more the public relations. They get some nice publicity around that. [Virtual dressing rooms] draw people into the store, they want to see it,” Shea explained to Women's Wear Daily.

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The next time you're browsing through a favorite designer boutique or department store, redirect your attention away from the sale cashmere sweaters or sultry sundresses and towards the myriad of new technology transforming the landscape of in-person shopping. You may even find something more intriguing than the price barcode scanner.

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